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Six Pack Of Dumbness
Man this month has been awful, as I’m sure you cats and kittens can tell from the blogs I’ve been posting. We won’t recapitulate the awfulness right here, but rather, I think it will be fun to go into an old timey ‘Andy hates this’ kind of blog. We haven’t done one of those in a while, and a little hate can cure the blues. I think I read that on a bumper sticker or a fortune cookie or the disclaimer of a car commercial somewhere. At any rate, here’s some hate; and contrary to the assumptions of the megalomanic narcissists in my band, this has nothing to do with them.
I want to talk about drinking for a second. And even still, this has nothing to do with my band, strangely enough. You kids probably know by now that I don’t drink. That’s a personal decision for a personal reason, and I’d rarely get in a drinker’s face about quitting. I hate when non-smokers get in my face about smoking, so I try to not do that to drunks. I do think non-smokers who try to get smokers to quit are a certain kind of indescribable dickhead. That’s not the point, though. We’re talking about drinking. I’m around it quite a bit with my job (hopefully that’ll end soon), and I hate every second of it. I hate how people behave on booze, I hate the attitude changes, the cavalier attitudes that accompany the mutation of a few beers into a dumb slut with three hundred dollar shoes and sixteen pounds of makeup throwing up into the gutter. I hate the cost of it, and how most people I know who drink their weights in fermented whatever like to complain about money while ordering up a shot and a brew. (“And keep ‘em comin’ Shelly.” Name that movie.) It’s awful. It should be taxed as much as my cigarettes are. Seems only fair, right? (“No,” says the non-smoker drinker, “What you do is gross!”) Anyway, there’s a glimpse, however minute, of my opinion towards drinking.
So much like the insinuations of many other things that I and all of us face in the modification community, you can assume my position on this new French study correlating modification and alcoholism. A quick sentence about useless studies: I enjoy the perpetuation of useless employment (I’m a bass player, after all), but on the whole can we agree that scholarly studies are some of the most misappropriated use of funds ever on five of the eight planets in our solar system? I still weep for Pluto. A quick sentence about France: (This sentence has been removed in order to not offended the French. Brought to you by Sensitive Society .org.) That was a joke, kids. Anyway, the point is coming.
So these French scientists types went out to a district where boozing is a pro sport, and pulled 2000 dames and mugs and concluded, “Pierced and/or tattooed individuals had consumed more alcohol in bars on a Saturday
night than patrons in the same bars who were non-pierced and non-tattooed.” That comes from the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. On four different Saturdays, twenty-one bars were spotted, and from those places, 2000 French folk were pulled and asked about their mods. Then they were given a breathalyzer. 1081 dudes were selected, of which 903 had no modification at all. The remaining 178 (broken down among the groups with piercings, with tattoos, and with both) showed higher breathalyzer results. France has a .25 driving limit. Of all of the four sample groups (no mods, tattoo mods, piercing mods, both) only the 27 men with both tattoos and piercings blew (I’m tempted to just end that sentence there for comedic effect) higher than the .25 with the result of .26. The results for the 884 women selected (which leaves a mysterious 35 people in the ether somewhere) were similar. The 537 unmodded broads blew (there’s that temptation again) .12, and the other groups blew higher, with the group of 85 women with both tattoos and piercings blowing a figure of .24, still below the driving limit. Each modified group in both gender sets blew results within .06 of the unmodded group. For those keeping score (assuming there were actually 2000 folks and no one got lost along the way), 6% of the individuals had both tattoo and piercing mods, which was the only group close to or exceeding slightly the legal drinking limit.
The data resulting from this study proves the idea that modded folk drink more, although (and this is from an individual who has not studied numbers for all his life) it seems as if the resulting numbers are negligible. I can’t argue with numbers, however, and yes; it seems as if we drink more than unmodded folk. A fine conclusion. Whatever. What was more interesting about this study (and by more I mean the singular thing) was the conclusion of the Frenchman researcher at the university of Le Fancy Pants. (It was Universite de Bretagne-Sud, to be exact.) He concluded, and this is a quote from the article I read paraphrasing his actual words, that “the findings showed that teachers, parents and doctors should consider tattoos and piercings as potential “markers” for alcohol abuse.” Let’s look at this.
So in this study of 2000 French folks, the researcher concludes we are marked for alcohol abuse. This coming from the less than 2% of individuals from this study who actually exceeded the legal limit, albeit by .01. The conclusion by the researcher (whose name is Nicolas Gueguen, by the way; I should have said that earlier) is that those with modifications are marked as a potential high risk for excessive drinking or alcoholism. Marked, or stamped, or labeled, or whatever you’d like to say has a certain ring to it that invokes… Now who were they, oh yeah; Nazis. The last group of people whom I can remember from my history books who were marked for an ideology or cultural believe were Jews. That type of comparison seems to sit awkwardly in my belly. Like many of these scholarly studies which seem to appear three times a day every day, I think the conclusion was written, edited, and on the doorstep of publication before the test was completed. I think that Nicky had his conclusion ready to go and was looking for a study to lean close enough to it in order to justify his job or grant money. You know, like all those studies that prove men behave one way and women behave another. Study shows less women watch combat sports than men! Money please.
I tend to not get offended at ignorance (really, Pete; that’s true), I do get offended more easily by insensitivity, and the resulting conclusion of this study seems to drip a nice cream sauce of insensitivity over my culture. I don’t know if on the whole modified people drink more than unmodified people. And unfortunately, I’m not sure Nick here knows either, though he seems to think he does. Saying modded folks are more prone to alcoholism may be quite a large brush with which to paint our culture. I think a more interesting study would be one that searches for the answer to this question: Do modified people have a greater propensity to live in the moment than unmodified people? In that question, I believe the drinking freedom of modded folk, that which this study tried to learn, would have a clearer and more philosophical conclusion. Of course I have nothing to base my ideas on, but I do believe that modded folk tend to enjoy life more in a moment to moment basis than unmodded folks. The clearest evidence I can drum to this point would be the question we all know and love from an unmodded stranger: What are you going to think about that tattoo or piercing in ten years? How many times have you heard that today? Me? Three. I think this speaks more to what modded folks are willing to do in life than blowing into a machine to collect blood alcohol data. This study which leans toward modified folks and drinking habits has just as a viable and useful outcome as ‘do modded people skydive more than unmodded.’
Drawing a conclusion suggesting a behavior such as alcoholism in a culture of individuals is dangerous. It propagates a stereotype of irresponsibility, and though I made the ‘live in the moment’ comparison, one could argue that living in the moment does not preclude responsibility. I have heard many, many stereotypes regarding my modified culture ranging from, ‘modded people don’t help the economy because they are less like to get hired,’ to ‘modified people have a greater probability of deviant sexual behavior.’ How accurate are any of these statements? And in turn, one could argue that the accuracy of the statement, ‘modified people are more understanding to other cultures,’ or ‘modified people make better parents’ are equally dangerous to make. Regardless of the perceived positive or negative nature of the statement, making sweeping generalizations about any group of people’s behavior can be a slippery slope. Yes, this dude actually went out and did actual statistical analysis and I didn’t, but I believe you cats and kittens are keen enough to understand the point. Maybe my reaction to this dumb assed study is completely off base. Maybe all of you mugs and dames are actually brutal lushes and you read my blog every week surrounded by Pabst’s cans and empty whiskey bottles. For some reason, though, I doubt that. Stay beautiful, kids.
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